By O Bolaji
Flaxman Moalusi Jacob Qoopane, who has just died, always had a palpable ambience of joie de vivre around him - and his extraordinary love for books, authors, literature, and libraries nourished this patina of exaltation.
Qoopane for decades had an astonishing career as a colourful, enterprising journalist, columnist, poet and author of several works. His shorter works were published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, journals and general books.
It is no surprise that news of his passing continues to shock the world, with the literary fraternity rocked and devastated. Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga, the well known literary critic reacted spontaneously: "So Flaxman has departed this world? I am crying now with poignant sorrow...he certainly played his part. Africa must celebrate this important literary figure,"
Charmaine Kolwane Mrwebi, the avant-garde poet, literary activist and publisher, was more philosophical. "Our Literary Father is Resting, Father of Letters...We are Praying for his Family" she said.
Nthabiseng Jah Rose Jafta, fecund poet and Creative Writing Mentor/Facilitator, said: "It is really sad. Ntate Qoopane was there for us since we were very young. We remain eternally grateful,"
Raphael Mokoena, another literary critic, averred: "Qoopane contributed prodigiously to African writing in particular. He unearthed, introduced, wrote about countless writers and poets over the years. He was a celebrated poet. He published many books of different genres: biographies, essays, criticism, general profiles, and epistolary"
Indeed, many of Qoopane's published books have been internationally digitised by lofty universities/literary centres. Flaxman also orchestrated the Qoopane Literary Gallery whose magnificent contents should now be taken over and preserved by the powers that be, as part of his sterling legacy.
Two years ago, Qoopane turned 60, and as part of the events marking the occasion, Charmaine Kolwane put together a book of essays, poems, articles, critiques etc all celebrating the remarkable Flaxman Qoopane (FATHER OF LETTERS). Literary pundits are now calling for the book to be stocked in every conceivable library. "Our people - new generations - must read about this man whose life celebrated books and literacy" a tearful Soqaga stressed.
Books published by Flaxman Qoopane
A Poet Abroad
Memoirs of a Cultural Activist
Adventures in Journalism
Women of Talent
Gilbert Modise: the man and the myth
View from my Window
Omoseye Bolaji: Perspectives on his literary work
City of Roses and Literary Icons
Scintillating stars from the vibrant soil